Cascade sunset
  Issue 1, Summer 2004  

W hen I started climbing thirty years ago there was no World-Wide Web and just one up-to-date guidebook for the Cascades, a new brown one by Fred Beckey. In those days, the Mountaineer Annual was the best source to find out what was up, literally and figuratively, in Northwest mountaineering. The Annual covered new routes, current issues, history, and interesting people.

By 1984, the big conservation battles in the high Cascades were over and new routes were being pioneered by climbers outside The Mountaineers. The Mountaineer Annual vanished for a few years, making a brief appearance in the early 1990s, then died for good after 1995.

Those of us who occasionally sniffed out new routes in the Cascades wrote them up in the American Alpine Journal or one of the national magazines. But they were poor substitutes. The AAJ’s scope is increasingly international, with little room for anything but bare-bones reporting of new climbs in the Northwest. The other aspects of the old Mountaineer Annual, the issues, the people, the history, didn’t have a good place to be published.

Since the late 1990s, with the growth of the Internet, new channels have emerged for climbers, skiers and other mountain lovers to communicate. Usenet newsgroups, Compuserve forums, AOL chat rooms, and web-based boards like CascadeClimbers.com have revolutionized how we interact, share stories, and meet new mountain friends.

Yet the strength of these new forums, their diversity, is also their weakness. In cyberspace, so much information is flowing, raw and unfiltered, that keeping up with it is overwhelming, separating the wheat from the chaff is sometimes maddening, and searching for information more than a month old can be frustrating. A publication is needed that regularly takes a shapshot of Northwest mountaineering, showcases it, and preserves it for posterity.

That’s what the Northwest Mountaineering Journal will strive to do.

The mission of this journal is to be an edited, permanent, annual record of mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest. The journal documents the events, people, history and spirit of climbing and other mountain sports in this region. A team of volunteers from the mountaineering community, in collaboration with The Mountaineers, publishes the journal.

Volunteer effort is crucial for the Northwest Mountaineering Journal. With volunteer labor and publication on the Web, we can focus on content rather than selling ads or subscriptions or lining up corporate sponsors. Working as a team is also critical. Publishing a journal like this is too much work for one person if they have a regular job. We have deliberately kept this a team effort, where each person’s workload is modest, even when that meant publishing more slowly than one or two people could, working full-time.

Collaborating with an organization like The Mountaineers is also important. In 2006, The Mountaineers will celebrate their one hundredth anniversary, and no organization has done more to preserve the history of mountaineering in the Northwest than this venerable club. Our wish is that in another one hundred years, the articles and pictures you enjoy today in the Northwest Mountaineering Journal will be here for your great-grandchildren to enjoy. Perhaps they’ll wonder how on earth people managed to climb mountains wearing Gore-Tex and why they drove to the mountains in gasoline-powered cars. And they’ll thank The Mountaineers, and us, for leaving our mountains in such good shape, and for passing these stories along.

Lowell Skoog, 2004 team leader
Issue 1 notes
Editorial Team
Ralph Bodenner
Steve Firebaugh
Paul Klenke
Alex Krawarik
Matt Perkins
Gordy Skoog
Lowell Skoog
Gary Yngve

Special Thanks
The editors particularly thank Jon Ryan and Tim Crawford of CascadeClimbers.com for their invaluable support of this journal, and for the resources that they and the message board have provided.